Thursday, June 30, 2011

Plum Raspberry Pie With A Sweet Almond Lattice

Being a pie lover, I have been patiently waiting to make this plum raspberry pie from The Sweet Melissa Baking BookAnd since I want to watch my sugar and white flour intake I decided to try this recipe using whole wheat pastry flour and stevia.  I have never made whole wheat pastry before so I just followed the recipe on the back of the bag.  I used Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour and this recipe.  I must say, I was pleasantly surprised the crust was nice and flaky! 
I substituted stevia when the recipe called for sugar and whole wheat pastry flour when it called for all purpose flour.  I was very happy with the results!  This pie was not overly sweet the plums gave it a nice tartness the raspberries a sweetness and the orange zest in the filling gave it some zip!  A good pie!  The almond lattice was a little difficult to work with... just take your time, be sure to refrigerate it and use the aid of a spatula when transferring the strips to your pie. 


I figure there is 9 WW plus points in a piece of this pie.  Not something that you would eat everyday, but as an occasional's a good thing! 
 The points could be reduced if you used diet margarine instead of butter....but I don't think the taste would be there.

Plum Raspberry Pie with a Sweet Almond Lattice

For the Piecrust:
your favorite pie crust

For the Almond Lattice:
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/8 t. kosher salt
4 T. (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 T. almond paste, broken into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large egg yolk
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
1/2 t. almond extract
2 T. ice water

For the Egg Wash:
1 large egg
2 T heavy cream
Pinch kosher salt

For the Plum Raspberry Filling:
1/2 c. sugar
2 T cornstarch
2 T tapioca pearls, ground into flour (use a spice grinder)
2 3/4 pounds black or red plums (about 8 large plums), washed, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch slices
Finely grated zest from 1/2 orange
1 dry half pint fresh raspberries

To Prepare The Piecrust:
Roll out the pie dough into a round 12 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick.  Gently fit into a 9-inch pie plate.  Fold the edges under and crimp.  Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

To Make The Almond Lattice:
In the bowl of a food processor filled with a metal blade, pulse blend the flour, sugar and salt to combine.  Add the butter and almond paste and pulse until it is a course meal.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, almond extract, and water with a fork.  Add the flour mixture and pluse until the dough looks uniformly moistened and crumbly.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Pressing together with your hands, form the crumble mixture into a disk measuring 6 inches in diameter.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refigerate for 20 minutes before rolling.  For longer storage, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and the aluminim foil for up to 3 weeks.

When ready to roll, place a piece of parchment or wax paper on your work surface and, using a little flour, roll the dough into a round measuring 11 inches in diameter.  Using a pizza wheel or chef's knife, cut strips measuring 3/4 inches wide.  Leave lattice strips on the parchment, and transfer to a baking sheet.  Wrap the lattice strips with plastic wrap and refigerate until ready to assemble the pie, about 20 minutes.

For the egg wash: Using a fork, whisk together the egg, heavy cream and salt.  Set aside

Before You Make the Filling
Position a rack in the bottom third of the overn.  Preheat the over to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

To Make The Filling:
In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and tapioca flour.
In a large bowl, toss the plums and zest.  Gently stir in the rasperries.  Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the fruit and stir gently to combine.

To Complete The Pie:
Lay the lattice strips across the top of the pie in a crisscross pattern, pressing gently at the point where the lattice meets the rim of the crust to join them together.
Using a pastry brush, gently brush the egg wash over the crimped piecrust edges and the lattice.
Loosely cover the pie with aluminum foil.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover the pie and bake for an additional 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling and thick.  Remove to a wire rack to cool to room tempurature before serving.

Recipe adapted from the Sweet Melissa Baking Book

Friday, June 24, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Okay, so I am a bit obsessed with baking lately, I guess it my maternal nature.  My current place of employment is closing it doors and we have all have been working so hard packing things up and getting everything straightened away that I think everyone deserves some special I have been baking up a storm for my co-workers.  

After this post I am going to take a brief I can get accustomed to my new job and hopefully get myself back on my weight loss adventure!  This recipe sure as heck does not help in that department!!!  It has Paula Deen proportions of butter (almost 4 sticks!)  

I saw this recipe in the Baked Explorations cookbook by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito . These bars looked so tempting with their sweet pastry crust and beautiful peanut butter and jelly layer with buttery crumb topping adorning the top, I just had to try it!

The crust was very hard to work with.  It was very dry so I added some cold water just to bring it together.  It baked up nicely and complimented the filling and topping beautifully. The peanut butter filling is like a butter cream frosting...I used creamy peanut butter but think that crunchy would have been better, but I suppose that is just personal preference.

I have to admit that I am not a grape jelly girl at all....and yet I used grape jelly because it was recommended by the baked boys.  I prefer strawberry, thank you very much!  For anyone who loves a good old PB&J...this is for you!  My husband and stepson are PB& grape jelly fans and they gave these bars a solid 9 out of 10!  They were raved about at work they were a hit!

If I make these again it will be with strawberry jam and
crunchy peanut butter!
Try these bars...but follow your heart and use the kind of peanut butter and jelly or jam that you like!
They are a piece of PB&J bliss!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Yield: 24 bars
Prep Time: 1 hour | Bake Time: 50 minutes

For the pastry dough:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 egg

For the peanut butter filling:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1¾ cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla

For the crumb topping:
¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup traditional rolled oats
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

For assembly:2 cups jelly or preserves

Make the Pastry Dough:

Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9×13-inch pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, using enough parchment to hang over the sides of the pans. Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse until sandy (about 6 to 10 quick pulses). In a small bowl, whisk the egg and pour into the food processor. Pulse just until the dough begins to hold together.

Dump the dough mixture into the prepared pan. Using your fingers, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan and up the sides just a little (maybe a half inch). Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove the pan from the freezer, line it with aluminum foil, and fill it three-quarters full with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Make the Peanut Butter Filling:

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is completely smooth. Add the peanut butter and beat until combined. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again. Turn the mixture out onto the cooled crust and, using an offset spatula, spread it into an even layer. Put the pan in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the crumb topping.

Make the Crumb Topping:

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the brown sugar and use your hands to rub it in until the mixture is uniform in color. Stir in the oats.
Place the dry mix in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and beat on low speed until loose crumbs form.

 Assemble the Bars:

Spread the jelly in an even layer over the peanut butter filling. Sprinkle on the crumb topping, covering the jelly.

Bake the bars for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, or until the top is brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut the bars and serve.  The bars can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

(Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oatmeal Cookies with Cinnamon Roasted Almonds, Cocao Nibs, and Dark Chocolate

I recently purchased some cocao nibs ( cocao beans in their original state, unprocessed, unheated and no fillers or additives broken into small pieces) from Whole Foods and have been anxious to bake with them sooo... I found this recipe from a nice blog called Two Peas & Their Pod , they have some great looking recipes over there, I really recommend a look see.  

The cookies are quite tasty.  The cinnamon roasted almonds are a treat in themselves and a great addition to this cookie, they add a nice crunch and balance out the bitterness of the cocao nibs.  I think next time I will use a little less dark chocolate a little more almonds. 

Delicious Yumminess!  Enjoy!

Oatmeal Cookies with Cinnamon Roasted Almonds, Cocoa Nibs, and Dark Chocolate

Yield: 2 1/2 dozen cookies
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes


1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup cocoa nibs
3/4 cup cinnamon roasted almonds, chopped


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon-set aside. Combine butter and sugars in the bowl of a standard mixer. Beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Beat until combined.
Slowly add in the dry ingredients, with the mixer on low. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, and almonds.
Scoop dough into balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until slightly browned. Allow to cool for a minute on the cookie sheet. Move to a cooling rack and enjoy.

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds


1 egg white
1 teaspoon cold water
2 cups whole almonds
3 T white sugar
3 T brown sugar
1 T ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Beat the egg white and water until frothy with a whisk in a medium bowl. Add the almonds, and stir until well coated. Mix the sugars, salt, and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the nuts. Stir the nuts until they are well coated. Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.
Roast the almonds for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so. Your house will smell amazing!
Allow to cool, then store in airtight containers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Deliciously crisp on the outside and perfectly chewy on the inside.  This is the best snickerdoodle I have ever tasted!

A classic cookie.
Cinnamon, sugar, butter....what could be bad about that???

Sweet Melissa Baking Book

Makes 3 dozen cookies
For the dough:
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons cream of tarter
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
For the cinnamon sugar:
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ cup sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tarter, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until combined. The dough will be soft and too sticky to roll. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Position a rack in the top and bottom thirds of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350f. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

For the cinnamon sugar: Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.

Using a 1 ounce cookie scoop or a tablespoon, shape the dough into balls and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar.

Place the cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Flatten them slightly with your fingertips so they stay put. Bake for about 12-13 minutes, or until the bottoms are slightly golden in color.  These cookies are supposed to be chewy, so do not overbake. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Snickerdoodles keep in an airtight container at room temp for up to 4 days. For longer storage, freeze well wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil for up to 3 weeks. Do not uncover before defrosting.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rosemary Apricot Squares-Baked Sunday Mornings

Time once again for the Baked Sunday Mornings challenge.  This group is baking it's way through Baked Explorations, the second amazing cook book by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.  This month's offering are these sophisticated apricot bars.  When reading the recipe, I wasn't really sure how rosemary and apricot would get along together...I love them both so I forged ahead. 

Each step was not difficult but the apricot filling was very time intensive...but I think you could prepare both the crust and filling ahead of time if need be.  The bars baked up and cut nicely. 


The flavors truly compliment each other perfectly, the rosemary shortbread is fabulous on its own, with the sweet-tangy apricot filling and the buttery nutty crumb topping it a very tasty unique recipe and one that should be added to everyone's collection.  For the recipe, and a look at what the other Baked participants did click here.

Happy Sunday!
Happy Fathers Day!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Glazed Lemon Bars

There is nothing like a good lemon bar. 
Some girls at work requested that I make some lemon bars so I began to look through my recipes.  I have my tried and true lemon bar recipe that  I usually make but I really wanted something just a little different, something with a little twist (no pun intended).  I found this nice little recipe at Our Best Bites.  I chose it because of the glazed topping instead of the standard sprinkle of confectioners sugar.  This was good!  I would have liked them to be just a bit more time ( and there will be a next time, because they were delicious!) I think I may sprinkle lemon zest on the top. 

Here ya go Stephanie and Katie....ENJOY!


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Double Chocolate Loaf with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread

If you all follow this blog, you know by know I am addicted to chocolate I usually can't get enough of it, but..... 
I think I met my match. 
The chocolate in this loaf is so intense it is almost too overpowering.  The loaf is made with dark chocolate cocoa powder and it has chunks of dark chocolate in the batter.  I didn't have dark chocolate cocoa powder or dark chocolate chunks so I used regular cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate chunks.  I was suppose to bake for 1 hour which I did but it turned out slightly dry.  On the other hand, the peanut butter spread was wonderful!!  We only had chunky peanut butter so that is what I used.  You definitely need a nice big glass of cold milk when you have a slice of this!  

 It is chocolate decadence!

Double Chocolate Loaf with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Spread
Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented
For the Double Chocolate Loaf
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder, (like Valrhona ), sifted
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped

For the Cream Cheese Spread
5 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar

Make the Double Chocolate Loaf
Preheat the oven to 350
degrees F and position the rack in the center.  Butter a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan, dust it with flour, and knock out the excess flour.

Place the brown sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Press out any lumps with the back of a large spoon.  Add the cocoa, flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk until blended, then add the buttermilk,oil, and vanilla; whisk until combined.

Turn the mixer to low and slowly stream the wet ingredients into the dry ones, mixing just until combined.  Stir in the dark chocolate chunks by hand.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Peanut Butter Spread
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth.  Add the sugar and beat until incorporated.  (If you are not using the spread immediately, place it in a ramekin, tightly cover it in
plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.)

Serve the loaf plain or toasted, topped with the peanut butter spread.

The loaf will keep , in an airtight container or wrapped tightly, at room temperature for up to 3 days.

This loaf is the ultimate gift.  Double or triple the recipe, cool the loaves completely, and remove them from the pans. To give the loaves a nifty bakery look, wrap them in brown parchment paper, and then wrap them in plastic and drop them off to friends along with a card.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Favorite Buttermilk Cake: ABC

This cake recipe is a keeper!  The cake is moist and delicious.  I made cupcakes and topped them with what was suppose to be caramel topping but it turned out to be more of a praline-like topping.  It was quite delicious.  Although this cake would be wonderful with fruit and  a little whipped cream.  Heck, I think it would be wonderful with whatever you chose to do with it! 

This was another great recipe from Baking for All Occasions by Flo Braker.  I am anxious to see what the other bakers in this group did.  If you are curious too....just click here

I will definitely make this cake again!
Recipe here

Happy baking!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Orange Creamsicle Tart: Baked Sunday Mornings

Creamy delicious goodness with a flavor that reminds you of days gone by.  This tart has orange flavoring in the crust, filling and topping!!  It was an all day event to make though....but looks like it was worth it.

Please stop by and see what the other Sunday Mornings bakers did and get the recipe here.

Until next time...and if just for a second remember the innocence of your childhood and the hot summer days that you had an orange creamsicle bar dripping down your shirt and you didn't care!